Jorge Posada Comes to the End of the Line

Posada's retirement announcement is expected soon.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    There's nothing left for Posada to do on the field.

    With the Giants making short work of the dirty birds from Atlanta, the Knicks finding their way into the season and the Jets melting down, there's precious little space for other sports news right now.

    That's a shame, because the news that broke over the weekend about Jorge Posada deserved a bigger moment in the spotlight. Sweeney Murti of WFAN reported Saturday that Posada will be announcing his retirement in the next couple of weeks.

    We already knew that Posada wouldn't be be back in the Bronx this summer. Even after a decent end of the season and a strong series against the Tigers in October, there wasn't a role for Posada on the team going forward.

    That nice end of the season was an aberration, though, and things weren't going to get much better for Posada if he kept hanging around. Things were trending downward and the bottom was approaching faster with every passing day.

    It's nice to see that he realizes that and chose to go out while still close enough to his best days. Not many athletes are able to make that decision, but the ones that do always benefit from not having that Willie-Mays-on-the-Mets stage for people to use as part of their career retrospective.

    We know what he meant to the Yankees over the course of his career. His bat was a key part of the lineup of four World Series champions and, whatever his defensive shortcomings as time went on, his stability behind the plate allowed the Yankees to spend their time and money filling other holes while keeping a difficult position well tended.

    Now the attention will turn to whether or not Posada accomplished enough during his career to earn election to the Hall of Fame when the five-year waiting period comes to an end. We alluded to his defense, which wasn't great but never nearly as bad as his epic inability to run the bases, but Posada's bat makes him hard to ignore.

    His 848 OPS ranks fifth among players with 5,000 plate appearances and more than half their time at catcher. That number would look pretty good at most positions, but it is a major accomplishment for a player at a position where offense has been seen as a bonus throughout most of baseball history.

    His career stats don't look so great since he started his career later than a lot of other players, but Posada always produced offensively. And it doesn't seem like his defense ever really mitigated the advantages he provided at the plate.

    On paper, he's as good a candidate, if not better, than Gary Carter and others already enshrined. That doesn't make him a slam dunk, though.

    Posada will be hurt by the fact that Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Piazza and Joe Mauer all stood in the way of him being recognized as the best catcher during his own era. Throw in the fact that he played alongside so many great players with the Yankees, it seems possible that Posada's own ability will be obscured by all of the bright lights around him.

    That's not terribly fair, but such is the way these things go. Narrative matters and Posada's is that he was a cog in the machine rather than one of the guys driving it.

    Given how much that machine accomplished, there are worse things to be although that perception shouldn't get in the way of Posada receiving his due for a splendid career.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.